Socialist Worker

Attack: working longer for less

Issue No. 2300

The Tories want to drive down the living standards of millions of public sector workers. They hope that this will strengthen them in a bigger battle against the whole working class.

The government wants public sector workers to pay more for their pensions, work longer and get less when they retire.

They have already imposed increases on pension contributions and plan to impose more. For some workers this will mean paying 50 percent more every month within two years.

Workers are already suffering pay cuts and freezes as the cost of living goes up.

Increased pension contributions could even force some to leave their pension scheme altogether.

The GMB union has estimated that around 39 percent of workers earning less than £21,000 could leave schemes because of the changes.

The Tories have also changed the inflation measure that pensions are linked to. They are using the CPI measure to calculate pension rises instead of the usually higher RPI one.

This means that pensions will rise more slowly over time and lump sum payments will be slashed.

Lawyers acting for unions that challenged this switch say it will cut the value of pensions by an average of 15 percent.

Finally the Tories want workers to work years longer to get substantially worse pensions.

On 10 May workers in five unions—Unite, PCS, UCU, Nipsa and RMT—will strike. Others are fighting to join them.

There are around 100,000 Unite health workers, 290,000 PCS members, 21,000 Nipsa members, 60,000 UCU members in the TPS pension scheme and 1,300 RMT members.

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